The widow of the late Igbo leader, Her Excellency Bianca Ojukwu, has expressed the eternal gratitude of the Ndigbo community to former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Bianca revealed that Ndigbo would forever be indebted to Jonathan for orchestrating a state burial for Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu.
During the 12th edition of the Ojukwu Memorial Day celebration, Bianca dedicated the event to Goodluck Jonathan, acknowledging his role not only in ensuring her late husband’s dignified burial but also in showing genuine concern for Ojukwu’s medical treatments before his passing.
In her speech on Sunday at the Ojukwu Memorial Day celebration in Owerri, Bianca recounted how President Jonathan promptly visited Ojukwu in Enugu when he fell ill.
Additionally, she highlighted the former President’s provision of an air ambulance that transported Ojukwu to a London hospital, where he spent seven months before his demise.
“This year’s memorial is a tribute edition dedicated to His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. He kept a tab, calling until God’s wish happened. Jonathan is not an Igbo but Ijaw, yet he ensured there were 28 funeral events in 28 states of Nigeria and 80 funeral Services in 80 countries of the world. He and his wife followed my husband until he was laid to rest in Nnewi.
“For President Jonathan, I’d say that every civilization will ultimately be measured by the discharge of its debt of decorum to the departed, For in death is a man at his most vulnerable state; Its noblest parting gift remains nothing other than dignity.
“Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, the Igbo nation remains indebted to you. That you were able to accord this unprecedented honour and care to our icon and our hero, regardless of tribe or creed, under a leadership uncontaminated by past prejudices speaks volumes of your mettle.
“Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu indeed was blessed to encounter a brother across the Niger at that bridge between life and death, and of a truth, you bestowed, not only upon him but upon the entire Igbo Nation, that parting gift of dignity at their icon’s most vulnerable moments. Your soothing balm spread across the grief of a people.
“The Roman philosopher, Cicero it was, who said that ‘Gratitude is not only the greatest of all virtues, but the parent of all others….’ Dr Jonathan, Ndigbo are a grateful nation. We deeply appreciate these precious gestures towards our beloved hero in life and death. It shall always be well with you and your family; history will be kind to you, and the prayers of the entire nation will always go with you,” Bianca eulogized
Guest speaker, Professor Protus Uzoma emphasized that the legacy left behind by Ojukwu surpasses temporal boundaries.
He underscored the importance for every Igbo individual to grasp the language of peace, unity, and love as a vital part of that enduring legacy.
“Ojukwu is still alive because his philosophy lives after him. He fought for the unity of this country, but the Igbo man is yet to be appreciated for the role he played. The principle of federal character must be maintained. The time has come for us to sit up; how many of our leaders can come together to say that Dim Odumegwu-Ojukwu must be celebrated.“